"This ain't history here," Doctor Who reminds us in the smart, powerful, and horrifyingly timely "Rosa."
"The Ghost Monument," the second episode of the Whittaker/Chibnall era, doesn't quite get the job done.
New Doctor, new showrunner, new era, new Who.
In the second part of my retrospective on Steven Moffat's era of Doctor Who, I discuss the Moffats with the Mostest: my all-time favorite stories from Seasons Five through Ten.
In the first (and grumpier) of two retrospectives on Steven Moffat's Doctor Who, I run down my 20 least favorite stories from Seasons Five through Ten.
The tenth-season finale fails Pearl Mackie's Bill, but "The Doctor Falls" is a strong episode that sets Steven Moffat up to say his final word on Doctor Who.
In "World Enough and Time," all the themes that have obsessed Steven Moffat's era of Doctor Who come home to roost.
Classic Doctor Who writer Rona Munro returns with "The Eaters of Light," to show the current generation how to do a simple story well.
What could I possible say about Mark Gatiss's writing that I haven't said before? Not a thing, so I'm not even going to try…
In "The Lie of the Land," the multi-part story of the Monks comes to an end, with patently ridiculous plotting and sadly diminishing returns.
"The Pyramid at the End of the World" presents a familiar conflict: the Doctor vs. God. So this week I'm taking a long look at the treatment of religion in New Who.
Steven Moffat's "Extremis" inspired some thoughts on River Song, death, and the problem of endings in Doctor Who.
"Doctor don't you call me, cause I can't go/ I owe my soul to the company store…" Workers of the world unite behind the Doctor in Peter Mathieson's "Oxygen."
Delivering nothing, saying nothing, and meaning nothing, Mike Bartlett's "Knock Knock" is a forgettable and regrettable hour of Scooby Who.
Some excellent character work elevates a fairly standard "monster-of-the-week" story.
New companion Bill learns what it means to travel with the Doctor—and proves her mettle—in a strong second episode.
It's a brand new season, a delightful new companion, and a welcome new beginning for Doctor Who.
The most unusual episode of Doctor Who ever is also Doctor Who in a nutshell.
In which we consider The Impossible Girl, and the frustrating impossibilities of being a girl in Moffat's Doctor Who.
Mark Gatiss wrote a found-footage story, and what he found was the worst episode of Doctor Who yet.
The conclusion of Toby Whithouse's two-part story left this reviewer with a massive headache brought on by confusion and frustration.
Doctor Who goes back to basics with a classic "base-under-siege" story.
Another strong episode is nearly suffocated with clutter. Is Steven Moffat just too goddamned clever for his own good?
Davros is back. The Daleks are back. The Master is back. Goddamned Doctor Who is back, and I couldn't be happier.
At turns merry, scary, and melancholy, Steven Moffat's "Last Christmas" gets at the real heart of the holiday.
The shaky train of Season Eight goes spectacularly off the rails in the worst story Steven Moffat has ever written.
If you want us to apply fairy-tale logic to Doctor Who, the tale in question needs to be better than this shapeless trifle from Frank Cottrell-Boyce.
I can be as grumpy as the next critic, but seriously: anyone who can't love a Doctor Who episode like "Flatline" should get out of the Doctor Who-loving business.
On paper, Jamie Mathieson's debut has all the elements of a great episode, but this "Mummy" never quite comes to life.
Tough decisions, difficult confrontations, and painful emotional growth: sometimes, Doctor Who isn't meant to be easy.
"The Caretaker" is a relatively light episode of Doctor Who, but that doesn't mean there aren't important things happening: some of them kind of troubling.
"Time Heist" isn't bad, it just isn't much of anything: it's all surface, no substance, delivering nothing more or less than what was promised in the title.
Steven Moffat's stunning, exquisite "Listen" is an episode about nothing, and recognizing that nothing can be a very scary thing.
"That would be a rubbish idea," the Doctor says, and he might as well be talking about the entirety of Mark Gatiss's "Robot of Sherwood."
With an older star, a darker tone, and a slower pace, this is not your father's Doctor Who. (Or, more to the point, it is…)
Everything old is new again in Doctor Who, but the show seems overly worried about whether we'll go along with the changes.
Make no mistake, "The Time of the Doctor" is a mess: in fact, it's the mess Steven Moffat is trying to clean up after a three-year reconstruction project.
"The Day of the Doctor" is full of fan-service and tributes to both the old and new series, but at its core it is simply the next vital chapter in Doctor Who, one that fulfills what I have called "The Moffat Masterplan" and brings the past, present, and future of this show into glorious agreement.
"The Name of the Doctor" is not perfect, and it does not make up for an uneven and scattered season, but it's a return to form for Steven Moffat, and a welcome revisiting of the underlying themes that made his first two seasons so powerful and so resonant.
Every fan of DOCTOR WHO has his or her own opinion on the "worst episode ever." But ask me today and my answer might just be different from the one I'd have given you yesterday.
Somewhere within the wreckage of "Journey to the Center of the TARDIS" there was a great episode of DOCTOR WHO to be found, but—like the Doctor—what we find instead is a big old mess in desperate need of a do-over.
"Hide" is not just the best entry in Series 7 so far; it's also a perfect example of how classic Who can be updated for modern times.
If I find myself just reviewing an episode, it usually means something has gone terribly, terribly wrong. So here's my review of "Cold War."
Neil Cross's "The Rings of Akhaten" calls back to classic Who in wonderful ways, and stands as one of the best episodes of the season.
DOCTOR WHO returns with a disappointing entry from Steven Moffat, in which the Doctor and Clara meet-cute—for the third time.
The 2012 Christmas special gives us memory-erasing worm, a spiral staircase to the clouds, and—of course—the titual killer snowmen from outer space. But "The Snowmen" is a little more complicated than that, and thematically far richer.
Once upon a time, there was a little girl named Amelia Pond…
At this point in the season—with only one episode left before the hiatus, and only one more week before the Parting of the Ponds—an entry like "The Power of Three" represents a wasted opportunity on an epic scale.
"A Town Called Mercy" is an excellent reminder that it is possible to use the tropes of genre adventure to explore fairly complex ethical dilemmas. In fact, that's one of the things that Doctor Who does best.
If "Dinosaurs on a Spaceship" turns out to be the weakest episode of Series 7, we can count ourselves lucky—parts of it were tremendous fun, and it had just enough substance to save it from total irrelevancy—but it is both overstuffed and undercooked.
Series 7 hits the ground running hard with an impressively scaled, impeccably paced story that cleverly marries the near future of this show to its distant and recent past.
It was The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, with a touch of A Wrinkle in Time, and just a hint of Aliens at the end. It just wasn't very Doctor Who.
Sometimes, the most surprising place we can find ourselves is exactly where we expected to be. "The Wedding of River Song," the grand finale of the 2011 season of Doctor Who, is long on spectacle, but short on revelation. By its conclusion, however, we are well-positioned to move forward towards something very different indeed.
"Closing Time" provides a turning point for the season: instead of piling still more guilt on the Doctor, Moffat and Co. begin to shake off the cumulative darkness of the previous few episodes, and start moving us back towards a more joyous, edifying vision of the Doctor we know and love.
This is the Doctor's fear: the people he likes that he cannot save; the people he loves but can't protect; the confrontation with his own limitations; the reminder that he is better off alone.
Make no mistake, "The Girl Who Waited" is essential Doctor Who, and its themes echo and ripple throughout the past and future of this entire franchise in dark and troubling ways.
We might recognize "Night Terrors" as something of a filler episode, but I have a feeling that children who watch it from behind their sofas may remember it as an absolute classic: an episode that scared them, and comforted them, and told them exactly what they needed to hear.
"Let's Kill Hitler" is a little bit clever, and a little bit of a mess, and more than a little unsatisfying.
One of the best episodes of New Who, "A Good Man Goes to War" could also be a game-changer in terms of the Doctor's character development.
Since Episode Two I had been bracing myself for the discovery that this whole season was either an alternate reality or a dream, either of which I would have hated. But this is so much better: a huge twist that somehow doesn't invalidate what has come before.
"The Rebel Flesh" certainly looks like a classic, stand-alone Doctor Who story, but there are definitely clues here that this story may be much more important than it appears.
Since 1963 we've seen this mysterious blue box that promised to be the gateway to all the stories to come. And last night, after more than 47 years, we finally met her.
"The Curse of the Black Spot" isn't even going fun to crap all over. It's not horrible, it's just not much of anything at all. It's a filler episode, a budget-controlling episode, a go-do-this-while-we're-over-here-working-on-the-ones-that-matter episode.
Last year's Doctor Who season opener, "The Eleventh Hour," was—by coincidence and design—a good jumping-on point for the series. With this year's season opener, on the other hand, Moffat seems to have different goals entirely, and "safe" is nowhere on the agenda.
I doubt anyone involved in the creation of Doctor Who would have predicted that the show would be thriving well into the new millennium, but—whether by accident or intention—there's no denying that they built this show to last.